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The Gruffalo author Julia Donaldson on busking and Judi Dench

With sales of ‘The Gruffalo’ topping 13 million, Julia Donaldson is one of the most successful children’s authors ever. She tells John Walsh how busking in hippie-era San Francisco – and sharing a stage with Judi Dench – helped her on the path to literary stardom

One Minute Interview with Jackie Collins

Where are you now and what can you see?

Sitting in my writing study gazing out at the Hollywood Hills, a profusion of palm trees and my gorgeous azure swimming pool.

The big book that's creating the big Booker stir; Week in Books

There are various points of contention in this year’s Man Booker shortlist – age (five out of six are aged between 28 and 46), America (four out of six live over there), anti-establishmentarianism (all the “revered” men and women of letters have been stripped out, bar Anne Tyler). But the biggest, most interesting, controversy surely comes in the choice of one book which has divided the critics – it seems – like no other.